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Kia's 2020 Telluride might be the perfect family hauler


My first impression of Kia’s new Telluride SUV was: This can’t be a Kia!

It was luxurious, spacious and way too nice to be from the company that makes those compact cars, but then Kia has also made the Stinger, a roomy performance family sedan, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

The Telluride is a mid-size SUV with seating for eight but feels like a full-size SUV and can go head-to-head with any of the luxury SUVs on the market.

The Telluride is available in four trim levels: EX, SX, SX Limited and SX Limited with Nappa leather. Pricing starts at $44,995 for the EX trim, while I tested the SX model priced at $49,995.

Both the EX and SX are eight-passenger models while the Limited and Limited with Nappa leather are available as seven-passenger models. All Telluride models present a commanding presence, with vertically stacked LED headlamps, large mesh design grille and big front fenders with bold round wheel arches and big wheels — 18 inch on EX models and 20 inch on the other models.

A wide stance with body colour bumpers and mirrors are highlighted nicely with chrome trim. Overall, the Telluride styling makes a statement about being roomy, strong and secure.

Inside, the Telluride is filled with features that both enhance safety and comfort. The heated leather seats and steering wheel were appreciated on the cool and rainy day I drove the SUV and even in heavy rain the visibility from the driver’s seat was excellent in all directions.

Rain-sensing wipers were appreciated as the rain decreased. Blind-spot detection was helpful in city traffic and on the busy four-lane highway I travelled, while the rear view camera and front and rear parking sensors made fitting this full size SUV into a tight parking space much easier.

One feature I really appreciated was the lane-change camera display in the centre of the gauge panel. Signal a turn and a camera shows a wide angle display of the lane beside you in the dash display.

The view shows more than the outside mirrors can so it makes changing lanes in traffic much safer. On the highway, the lane-departure warning and advanced cruise control monitor road and traffic to help keep occupants safe.

Steering wheel controls and voice recognition help keep your hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road, while the large 10.25 multimedia display screen on the centre of the dash shows navigation, audio and information.

The Telluride is definitely designed for the family, with six fast-charge USB outlets and separate climate controls for the rear seats. The Quiet mode feature turns off audio to second- and third-row seats so children can fall to sleep easier while front-seat occupants enjoy the Harmon Kardon sound system.

The Telluride is a comfortable ride: quiet on the highway, smooth on rough streets and easy to drive. Tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power driver and passenger front seats and three-zone climate control make long trips pass quickly.

Power comes from a direct injected 3.8-litre V6 gasoline engine matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission and put to the ground through all four tires. The 291-horsepower may seem low when compared to the power from modern sports cars but in the Telluride it is more than adequate.

Torque peaks at 5,200 rpm but it feels strong throughout the rpm range. Around town, throttle response was quick and accelerating never felt sluggish.

On the highway, it cruises at 110 kph effortlessly and passing slower traffic was smooth and quick. The transmission is well matched to the engine output and it shifts seamlessly, giving the Telluride good performance at any speed.

To say I was impressed with the Telluride is an understatement. For families or those that need a roomy SUV the Telluride is a great ride with 5000 pound towing capacity to haul that boat or camper to the lake.

The specs

Model: 2020 Kia Telluride

Configuration: 8-passenger all-wheel drive SUV

Engine: 3.8 L direct-injected six-cylinder producing 291-horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 lb.- ft. of torque at 5200 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Fuel economy: City:12.5L/100 km; Hwy:9.6L/100km

Brakes: four-wheel disc brakes with ABS

Special features/options: heated leather seats, power seats, navigation system, transmission paddle shifters, panoramic sunroof, remote start, traction and stability control, Side and rear view cameras,

MSRP: starting price: $44,995

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